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Opportunist nesters

March 29, 2022

There is a very productive tree in the Yea Wetlands that hosts nests each season: the big tree growing on the island in Cummins Lagoon at the end near the carpark. Over the last few years, a pair of Australian Ravens refurbish their large pile of sticks and raise another family, while on a slightly lower branch, a pair of White-faced Herons lay eggs and raise chicks. This picture from a previous blog shows the location of the heron’s nest.

Australian birds are opportunists. Their breeding patterns are not totally predictable, depending on the season. It has been a wonderful year for water-birds and wetlands with the high Summer rainfall of a La Nina period. So the White-faced Herons were not content with raising chicks in their usual Spring time-slot, they started a second brood in December. Now they have two chicks from the second breeding currently staring down at the people who pass below.

They often have this strange stiff pose, perhaps a form of cryptic freezing, like a Frogmouth. The position of their eyes on the side of the head means they can see below as well as above.

Bad times will surely come again, so good on the ol’ Herons for breeding up while the going is good.

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